`Time to re-examine parliamentary privilege`

Prashant Bhushan was served notice for alleging that members of Parliament take bribes to pass laws.

New Delhi: After he received a breach of privilege notice earlier in the day for his remarks against MPs, Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan on Saturday said the absolute privilege enjoyed by members of Parliament needs to be re-examined.

"If speaking the truth or expressing our opinion in public interest is treated to be a breach of privilege by Parliament or its members, then I think the time has come to re-examine as to what constitutes parliamentary privilege," Bhushan told a TV channel.

"Whether this kind of privilege by which MPs can issue breach of privilege notices to persons who are merely highlighting and commenting upon what they are saying... needs to be re-examined," he added.

Bhushan was served notice for alleging that members of Parliament take bribes to pass laws. He has been asked to file a reply by Sep 14.

When asked about the police filing First Information Reports (FIRs) on alleged violation of law and order at the Ramlila Maidan where activist Anna Hazare fasted for 12 days Aug 16-28, Bhushan said the event was a success and a `model of cooperation` between the police and organisers.

"Throughout this agitation at Ramlila Maidan, utmost care was taken by the organisers that there must not be any violence and there must be minimum possible inconvenience to the public," Bhushan said.

"The police cooperated admirably with us and the interaction between the police and the organisers on the whole was very good and could be treated as a model of cooperation for such a large movement," he added.

The lawyer said the police were "most welcome" to file FIR against them and they would respond to that.

Former top cop Kiran Bedi, another aide of Hazare, also faces a privilege motion for her remarks against parliamentarians. Addressing the Ramlila Maidan gathering, she accused politicians of wearing "several masks" at the same time, drawing the ire of MPs.


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